Apollo 8 was launched on December 21, 1968, and was the first manned Saturn V launch. The crew was Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot was James Lovell, and the Lunar Module Pilot (although there was no Lunar Module) was William Anders. The mission was the first manned mission beyond earth orbit and the first mission to the moon--and thus was of great historical importance. After 2 Earth orbits to check out spacecraft systems, the Saturn third stage boosted Apollo 8 (CSM 103) towards the moon. On December 24, Apollo 8 became the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon. The spacecraft orbited the moon 10 times and then returned to Earth for a December 27 splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. The Apollo 8 mission was described as 99.9 percent perfect and it cleared the way for a manned lunar landing seven months later.
The Command Module was transferred to the Smithsonian in 1971. After brief display at two NASA centers it was placed on loan to the Chicago Museum of Arts and Industry for display.
Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration